CHAI was founded in 2002 with a transformational goal: help save the lives of millions of people living with HIV/AIDS in the developing world by dramatically scaling up antiretroviral treatment.
When CHAI was founded, many viewed this goal as unreasonable because health systems in poor countries were too weak and prices of relevant drugs and diagnostic tests were too high.CHAI played a leadership role, working alongside governments and other partners, to lower the costs of treatment and help build the in-country systems necessary to provide lifesaving treatment to millions of people. Since then, CHAI has pursued several similarly ambitious goals, from scaling up pediatric AIDS treatment in order to achieve equity with adults in a timeframe few thought possible, to rapidly accelerating the rollout of new vaccines. CHAI has achieved many of its most important successes when seeking to fundamentally change the way the world approaches an issue and pushing the boundaries of what is considered feasible in global health.
We are driven by a set of values that are fundamental to our work and that support our change-oriented agenda.
CHAI doesn’t implement stand-alone programs, nor does it build parallel health systems. Rather CHAI works at the invitation of governments to strengthen and sustain their own capacity to provide long-term healthcare to their citizens. In South Africa, for example, CHAI is supporting the government to expand antiretroviral treatment to more than 2.3 million people and to test over 15 million people for HIV in the next two years.
We work with urgency.
People are dying unnecessarily from AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis (TB), and other treatable diseases; the world often responds too slowly. We understand that the faster we act the more lives can be saved.
We work in cooperation with and at the service of partner governments.
We believe that to make programs sustainable and scalable, we need to strengthen the national government health systems by working with ministries of health. As we work closely with partner governments, we aim to build capacity so that our role is eventually unnecessary and programs are completely transitioned to the leadership of local government partners.
We are a mission-driven organization.
We want people to work with us because they believe in our mission of saving lives, reducing the burden of disease, and strengthening health systems. CHAI employee satisfaction comes from the fact that collectively we succeed in advancing our mission.
We are frugal.
We feel that donor money we raise should go as much as possible to saving lives directly rather than to compensating ourselves excessively, elaborate expenses, or high overheads.
We operate with humility.
We do not actively publicize our work, independent of the publicity that our government partners request. We try to foster a culture of respect for the people we serve and for our local government partners.
We have an entrepreneurial and action-oriented culture.
We hire knowledgeable individuals and give them wide latitude to conceive of and execute programs. Some of our greatest accomplishments, large and small, were not planned centrally. We are willing to take risks and attempt to achieve goals that are substantial, challenging, and uncertain. We believe that the successes made possible by our risk-taking will more than outweigh the failures.
We operate based on trust and transparency.
We expect employees and partners to make ethical decisions, to work hard, and to manage their own work. We try to minimize internal bureaucracy by not overburdening our people with too many managerial constraints.
We recognize our staff is our greatest asset.
Primarily, the talent and hard work of the exceptional individuals who work for CHAI drive our successes. We strive to support and protect our well-performing staff to grow and thrive within the organization and to enable them to have a major impact in fulfilling the mission that caused them to come to work at CHAI.